This post was written for publication last week but due to September being such a hectic month for me, I never got around to actually publishing it. My sincere apologies to all my loyal followers. I try my best to post weekly but sometimes “life” just gets in the way.
Have you noticed that change can be a tremendously upsetting and life-changing event, disturbing the fragile comfort of life as we know it? Moving from the known to the path of the unknown and new often requires a special mindset to dispel the negative thoughts that penetrate our minds and prevents us from embarking on the path of discovery with an open mind and positive outlook.
September 2013 has been one such month for me – a month of tremendous change and I have once again questioned my resilience to change. Let me explain:
Currently, the centre of my life is my mother. For the last 12 years we have shared a house and have become extremely close. We do everything together, go everywhere together – like twins attached at the hip. September started with mom having a Colonoscopy which revealed two polyps and a tumour on her colon – all cancerous and has been removed. She also had some cancerous glands at the base of the Aorta (just before it branches into the legs).
Needless to say, the rug has been pulled from under me. In my heart I knew mom would not live forever and her cancer being in the very early stages means that she could still live for a number of years, but it suddenly jolted me into the reality that death could be closer than we think. Anyone of us could die at any time, but I still fooled myself into believing that my mom would still be around for a very long time. Mom now has to live with a Colonostomy bag – a daily reminder of how fragile her life has become overnight. A major adjustment in both our lives.
While questioning my own resilience to change I was reminded of a book called “Who moved my cheese?” by Dr Spencer Johnson (no relation to me – not to my knowledge anyway).
The book is a tale about how to cope positively with change and deals primarily with change that takes place in the work-place, however, I think there is merit in applying the principles in all aspects of our lives, for example:
THE CENTRE OF OUR LIVES:
• Who or what is currently the centre of your life?
• What happens or what will happen when this centre becomes smaller and eventually disappears from your life?
• Will you go off in search of another “centre” or will you play the “victim” for having lost the “centre” of your life?
• Will clinging to the “old” be a help or a hindrance to you? How will you move forward?
• Does losing your “centre” mean the end of the world for you? Will it mean that the future will hold nothing but fear and uncertainty?
• Noticing the “centre” disappearing or fading away, have you prepared for the inevitable (physically and mentally)?
• Has your lack of planning for the inevitable left you feeling unprepared/angry/annoyed? Do you feel life has been unfair to you? Are you stuck in the victimised mindset? Do you blame others for your situation/problems?
Instead of seeing change as the end of something, we need to see it as a beginning: “If you do not change, you can become extinct” [a quote from the book]
Life demands a level of risk and adventure in order for it not to be wasted. If you are willing to live this way, change can lose its sting.
Breaking through your fears brings freedom and independence.
More quotes from the book:
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
“When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.”
Some pearls of wisdom from the book:
They keep moving the cheese (life always sends new curve balls your way)
Get ready for the cheese (your centre) to move
Smell the cheese often (review your centre often) so you know when it’s getting old (when your centre is about to change)
Adapt to change quickly:
The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese (the sooner you prepare for change, the sooner you can move forward)
Move with the cheese (move with the times, plan ahead)
Savour the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese (enjoy the ride – appreciate the good and face the challenges head-on)
Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again:
They keep moving the cheese – change happens!
Do you have a “big cheese” in your life that you believe will last forever? How will you adapt to losing this “big cheese”?